Forum home Wildlife gardening

Are teasels carnivorous?

josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531
edited May 2018 in Wildlife gardening
Last year I grew teasels from seed, hoping the bees and goldfinches would enjoy them.  They overwintered as rosettes, and now are growing up.  Today I noticed that the paired leaves are joined together at the base, and collect pools of water around the stem.  All sorts of small critters had drowned in them, snails, caterpillars.  I never knew this about teasels.  Not so beneficial to wildlife after all!  Now I'm wondering, do they digest their victims, like pitcher plants, or is it simply a defence, to keep themselves from being eaten?  Some of the leaves appear to have been munched.


  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,054
    Quite a few pieces on the Web that say "possibly" or "probably". Apparently the question was considered by Charles Darwin's son Francis. Me, I just note that birds like to drink from the "cups"!
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,889
    No idea but I do know the plants have a terrible habit of dumping the dead insect soup into your shoes if you brush past them. It seems to be a way that they can store water and tip it down onto their own roots as they sway in the wind. The insects might add some nutrients though I guess.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,286
    Marvellous plants ... love them  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • The reason that carnivorous plants catch insects is that they grow in boggy conditions where nutrients are leached out of the soil, but insects provide an alternative source. Teasels grow in ordinary soil so they don't actually need to catch insects, but perhaps they can digest them anyway. The ability to digest insects evolved from their ability to defend themselves from fungi - they are both made of chitin.
Sign In or Register to comment.